Friday, November 12, 2010

EASD Still Trying to Push Through Pool Renovations

Posted by: Noel Jones

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," seems to be the Easton Area School District's motto with regard to expensive proposed pool renovations at the Easton Area High School as reported by Christopher Baxter of The Morning Call. The board had already twice voted down the renovations ranging from $800K to $1.6 million, proposed by D'Huy Engineering, with the exception of fixing the roof (which was built without insulation, so the taxpayers have been paying that heating bill since 1962), but at their most recent meeting, thought they would give it another try, hoping that the vote might change.

Taxpayers have already spoken on this one during the budget meetings earlier this year that led to the firing of 72 teachers, the general consensus being, that if our budget is in a crisis, this is no time to be throwing that much cash at a swimming pool. Residents also protested the idea that swimming is a requirement for graduation, and some residents testified that being forced to wear a swimsuit and parade around other kids in public was extremely uncomfortable for them in their teens--especially for young girls in a co-ed class. Some residents suggested taking a survey to see how many students actually want a swimming class as part of their physical education requirement. Others suggested working out a deal with other area pools for those that want the use of a pool on a regular basis. In general, the message was that we are in a recession and our budget is in crisis, with ballooning pension debt on the near horizon, and need to be cutting, rather than spending, unless something is an absolute necessity. Residents I have talked to and witnessed in the meetings have a hard time understanding how we can be entertaining the idea of giving D'Huy Engineering another lucrative project when 72 teachers were fired at the end of the budget meetings this year, followed by school administrators giving themselves a raise.

I know that the capital improvements budget is separate from the budget through which employees are paid, but regardless, at some point the EASD has got to learn that how their taxpaying public feels matters, and that just because that part of the budget is separate, does not mean that taxpayers feel that pool renovations are a necessary expenditure in these difficult economic times.

But it just goes to show us, that while the cat's away, the mice will play. It is really important for there to be a handful of residents at every meeting to keep an eye on what is being rammed through on our tax dollars when we're not watching. The next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 18th at 6:30p.m. click here to see all the info, including the agenda, which is complete with hyperlinks so that  you can see by clicking on the agenda items, what will be discussed.

What do you think about the pool? Necessary expense? Necessary graduation requirement?


carinne said...

What the…?
How are they getting away with asking again if it was voted down each time? It seems to be an obvious attempt at wearing down the board or coincidentally having it pass if enough members are absent. That is just plain wrong.
Again this seems to read like a script about a spoiled brat kid.
Pool Committee: “Please can we have a million dollar pool?”
Board on behalf of tax payers, fired teachers, etc.: “No”
Pool Committee: “Pretty please?”
Board on behalf of tax payers, fired teachers, etc.: “I said no”
Pool Committee: “But can I just have a million dollar pool?”

noel jones said...

Exactly. Or:


"Hey--guys--do you think we can push this thing through this week?"

Certain Administrators & Board Members:
"Yeah, public attendance is dropping off now that the teachers have been fired, so if the right people are present on the board..."

"What gives? They didn't vote for it again!

Certain Administrators & Board Members:
"Don't worry--it's just timing--we'll try it again next month--don't worry, we'll get our pool. The taxpayers will get worn out eventually, stop coming to meetings, and just foot the bill."